“Adolescence is like a self-contained island,
A relatively blissful utopia,
Isolated from the harshness of reality.
A wide plain, or a steep terrain,
That become the playground
Of imagination, of castles in the air,
Of invention, of learning.”
“I hate to disagree, but it is
Nothing like that, where I am.
The heart of the problems
In lands of desolation
You probably have never seen
Lies in this very notion you put forth.
No, for where their will is bent
Into submission, where their innocence
Stripped off them, where the evils
Of the fallen world
Are forced into them,
Childhood is a homeless scavenger,
A soulless profitable tool of men
A bomb waiting to detonate,
Without warning, any time,
Perhaps even the moment
You were conceived.”
“That is not childhood; that is
Vice, and poverty, and – ”
“But it is exactly what childhood truly is!
Oh, to know what lies
At the crux of this fabricated dream cloud!
You opened a doll house, put them inside,
And pretend all is fine,
When the others outside die,
Die their souls, their minds,
Their bodies – oh, the horror! –
Their hearts; woe! Woe!”
“Such a truth does not stay truth
For all who are of another world.
Indeed, perhaps we live
Far apart from each other,
A great divide ought to separate
That such incongruency should never happen again.”
“Who is this stranger who now speaks?”
“Yes; what is your nature, and where do you stand?”
“Gentlemen, it does not have to be clear
Who I am, where I hail from, does it?
For I dawn upon you
Not as one, but as an idea, offered to you
To consider. Perhaps, this adolescence,
This childhood, is just this growing up,
A simple continuum, really, that ought to start
Blameless and nurturing. And sadly,
It is a fallen world, surely I mediate on both your grounds?
For we cannot deny that.
So I here propose, this period of time
Is much like decay.
Any containment and shielding
Falls short of the immense potency
Of this decay. If you both are learned, perhaps
Imagine it radioactive, whose half-life
Varies as we transverse the globe,
And only we know our culture well
So as to know the length of that
Golden period of time.
Whether it encroaches like
Rust or rock erosion,
Or it envelopes and drowns
Like the crashing wave,
Remains for you to see.”
“That is indeed better.”
“Agreed, and that we are all correct,
Is satisfying. May we hold this to be the truth.”
“Does this mean we ought to leave this decay
To its work? Is that best?”
“Gentlemen, I hoped you would realise that.
A lighted hope is what we can have
Guided by our compass
And set into motion by compassion.”